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University of Haifa International School Student Blog

Is It Possible to Stay Healthy and Fit While Being Abroad?


I have been into fitness (NOT SPORTS – I am terrible at them) since I was about thirteen. I took a predilection into fitness when I started my first kickboxing class. Immediately, I fell in love with kickboxing. I loved taking my emotions out on the bags, enjoyed working up an intense sweat, and liked the results that it gave me. Yes, I danced practically my entire life. Dancing was my passion – a part of my life, a part of me. However, kickboxing made me focus on the idea of “working out, being fit, and my own personal health.” At that age, I realized the importance of fitness for my body, mind, and soul. 

Most people know that I am a fitness guru – I love to workout; whether it be biking, running, kickboxing, aerobics, etc. When I workout, I acquire a sense of mental clarity. It allows me to focus on myself, my progress, and my well-being. In recent years, I have tried to improve my health by eating in a more healthy way. My diet consists of an abundance of vegetables, grains, legumes, and healthy fats.  I know I did not include meat or fish into that list, for I am a vegetarian [Vegetarians DO NOT eat fish for people who think differently].  When people ask me why I became a vegetarian I simply say that I wanted to try it. I did my research on vegetarianism, and I told myself – “Try it for a week. If you do not like it just eat meat and fish again.” Although, that was not the case. Vegetarianism made positive effects on my mind and body. Essentially, eating a copious amount of vegetables made me feel good.


When all said and done, I dedicate a large part of my life to staying fit and eating healthy. I will not lie: when I decided to study abroad, I was concerned with this part of my life. I wanted to stay in shape, workout, and make good choices in regards to food. As a result, I have made it my main priority to remain faithful to my lifestyle. Thus, I have compiled a list for my readers on how they too can remain dedicated to their healthy lifestyles.

I do not [repeat do not] wish to insult my country, for I love my country and always defend it. However, in the United States, society takes matters to the extreme. Our government does not go to extremes (which I am fortunate of), but Americans definitely do. Americans, including myself, either under-eat or over-eat, are gym rats or do not partake in any physical activities, super-size or decline any food which comes their way, binge or starve. Ultimately, these are extremes – which I admit to partaking in as well. 

While in Israel, I noticed that not many people work out like I do. Many people do not make it their priority to hit the gym or go for a run. Although, I see most people walking. People walk everywhere – to the grocery store, the mall, school, etc. You see everyone eating whether it be a salad, a dessert, or a sandwich. Nobody stuff their faces, but people enjoy their meals whether they be with their families or friends.

Essentially, it seems as if Israelis do things in moderation. 

I appreciate this balanced lifestyle which at times I lack. It makes me reflect on my own life and the negative effects of taking matters to the extreme.

 As I said, remaining devout to my healthy lifestyle is very important to me, and while on campus I have found many ways to stick to my plan. 


How to Stay Healthy and Fit While Being Abroad

  1. Take the stairs – DO NOT resort to the elevator. A.) You’ll be that person B.) Walking up the stairs does wonders for the buns and thighs.
  2. Yes, you can eat some dessert, but you do not need to eat every dessert. While abroad, you’re in an area for a lengthy duration of time. Therefore, you can try everything, but not everything all at once.
  3. Make sure you eat your vegetables. Fortunately, I am in the Middle East, where eating healthy is a part of life. Middle Eastern food includes an array of vegetables, extra virgin olive oil, and legumes. If you are vegetarian, it is not an issue in the Middle East.
  4. If you can – exercise. You do not need to join the on-campus gym. You can run around the campus – like me!  Everyday, I take it upon myself to find different trails and paths to take along my runs. If you don’t want to run – That’s fine! YouTube is filled with workout videos – I am always doing Tracy Anderson’s workouts…Amazing!
  5. Do not stress if you do not make the healthiest food choices one day. The next day, just wake up, get refreshed, and eat healthy again as always. Stress is never good on the body!
  6. If you need to snack, grab an apple (filled with lots and lots of fiber). Remember, an apple a day keeps the doctor away! Normally, there is an apple in my bag. I keep it in there just in case I get hungry and do not feel like making a poor food decision.
  7. If you go out to dinner, you can change up your meal and your vary options. You can swap vegetables for white rice, get multigrain bread for white bread, or do not get any bread at all.
  8. Watch your consumption of dairy. In the states, we have 0%, 1% dairy. In other countries, dairy tends to be full fat 3%+. Therefore, make sure you stay aware of your intake.
  9. Buy food when you need it – If there is ever a natural disaster, come to my house. We have enough food to feed the country. Growing up, my family tended to buy food – just in case we had company or if my friends came over or if…or if..or if..some thing was to ever happen, we had enough food. Do not do that while abroad because you induce yourself to eat more. Get only what you need. Trust me, it is not necessary.
  10. If you decide to have a “cheat day” (which is perfectly fine – I have them too), make sure you still get your whole, hearty foods in somewhere!

About haifainternationalschool

Marketing Director for the University of Haifa International School. Offering students from over 40 countries around the world an academic summer,semester or yearlong opportunity in Haifa!

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